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Development of multiple chemical sensitivities in laborers after acute gasoline fume exposure in an underground tunneling operation.
Davidoff-AL; Keyl-PM; Meggs-W
Arch Environ Health 1998 May-Jun; 53(3):183-189
In this article, investigators report on the presence and nature of chemical sensitivities and other indices of illness in a cohort of workers excavating a new subway tunnel located under a former gasoline station. The workers were exposed to gasoline fumes for up to approximately 2 mo when they inadvertently dug into soil contaminated by gasoline. The cohort was unique in several ways: (a) contact with gasoline was made by the workers at a time when no one had complained of multiple chemical sensitivities syndrome; (b) all were males of low socioeconomic status; (c) the exposure was well documented; (d) the cohort could be considered "naive" because, at the time of the study, the men were not members of support groups and were not being seen by clinical ecologists, and they were not labeled, either by self or others, as having multiple chemical sensitivities syndrome or any related diagnosis; and (e) at the time of interview, all workers we contacted appeared to be either gainfully employed or laid off temporarily and seeking gainful employment. We explored the health status of the workers at two different times: (1) soon after the tunnel was closed as a result of high, measured benzene-exposure levels and (2) 10-13 mo after the tunnel was closed. The workers were chronically overexposed to gasoline fumes, after which approximately one-fourth (26.7%) of our random sample of relatively naive, low-socioeconomic-status male laborers-although neither disabled nor generally litigious-reported the new onset of chemical hypersensitivities and other characteristics that fit conservative criteria for multiple chemical sensitivities syndrome.
Acute-exposure; Gases; Organic-chemicals; Case-studies; Solvents; Organic-solvents; Workers; Worker-health; Occupational-exposure; Pesticides; Pesticides-and-agricultural-chemicals; Occupational-health; Occupational-hazards; Health-hazards; Occupational-diseases; Organo-phosphorus-pesticides; Diseases
Issue of Publication
Archives of Environmental Health
Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division